Author Topic: Annoying CoWorker does it again - new situation, new question p24  (Read 7854 times)

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Shopaholic

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Here is the previous thread on my coworker:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=111835.0

We have four apparatuses. Last week Maddie, Tina and I arrived in the morning. Maddie said she needed two, Tina needed one and I needed one. Under certain circumstances, apparatuses can be used jointly - but this wasn't one of them. We all started the prep work needed for our individual use of the apparatus.

Coworker arrived about an hour later, and saw Tina prepping the apparatus. She yelled out "Save one for me!" Tina told her that Maddie was using two more, and that I was next in line for the apparatus. Tina asked coworker if she wanted to use the apparatus along with her, coworker refused. Tina repeated the question, stating that she didn't have a problem waiting for coworker to finish her prep. Coworker refused.

Meanwhile, my prep had hit a snag, and I had to restart it. It included a long waiting period, so I was working at the computer. I then noticed that apparatus #4 was in early stages of assembly on the workbench. I asked Tina if she set it out for me, and then Coworker yelled out "No, it's mine!"

I asked her what was going on, because I heard Tina telling her that I was waiting for it and I know that she heard it.
Coworker's response was that "it didn't look like I was going anywhere" with my apparatus, and "what's the big deal? We can use it together."

So, Coworker decided that I wasn't doing anything and that her work was more important than mine, therefore she can just take the apparatus without asking me first if I intended to use it. She was even being generous towards me and letting me use it with her!

I was really mad so I told her that it's about time she realized that there were other people in our group, whose work is no less important than hers.
To which she replied "Why don't we ask everyone else in the group what they think about you!"

Since then we have been ignoring each other. Tina was a witness to the entire thing, and says that she told Coworker three times that the apparatus was going to be used by me so as far as she is concerned Coworker made her own bed.

What do I do with this horribly unprofessional and immature person? The entire situation could have been avoided if she had just bothered to TALK to me about it.
I think it's petty to bring up such an issue with our supervisor. Can I bring up a "communication problem" in a group meeting?

Talking to her is really not an option because she has the mentality of a first grader. That same day she needed samples from me so she sent lab manager to tell me she is taking them.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 12:07:41 PM by Shopaholic »

learningtofly

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 01:32:48 PM »
I wish I had advice, but I don't. This is the type of coworker who steals your tips and solutions.  Watch out for your stuff.  Start making sign up sheets lab policy.  That way when you sign-up for the apparatus and she steals it you can prove she isn't following lab procedure.

rashea

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 01:51:02 PM »
Was her work something that would be finished by the time you would be ready to use the apparatus? If so, I think you were pretty rude. First come, first serve applies, but first ready, first to use could too.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

Shopaholic

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 04:14:51 PM »
Was her work something that would be finished by the time you would be ready to use the apparatus? If so, I think you were pretty rude. First come, first serve applies, but first ready, first to use could too.

No, it wasn't.
Either way, she did not know my status and should have talked to me before taking the apparatus.

rashea

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 04:19:07 PM »
Was her work something that would be finished by the time you would be ready to use the apparatus? If so, I think you were pretty rude. First come, first serve applies, but first ready, first to use could too.

No, it wasn't.
Either way, she did not know my status and should have talked to me before taking the apparatus.

Ah, that changes it slightly. Then again, I can see her point if she was ready to use it and you weren't. And her talking to you before using it only applies if you have a "first come can reserve it" policy, if it's first person who is ready gets it, then it wasn't yours. I think it sounds to me like there needs to be clarity. Can someone in charge of the lab make a decision how this works and communicate it to everyone?
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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Deetee

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 04:35:17 PM »
I wish I had advice, but I don't. This is the type of coworker who steals your tips and solutions.  Watch out for your stuff.  Start making sign up sheets lab policy.  That way when you sign-up for the apparatus and she steals it you can prove she isn't following lab procedure.

This sounds good.

In my old lab, for ages we just communicated and then things got a bit busier and we needed to switch to a sign up regime.

(We also had to come up with a plan for when people signed up but weren't using it and couldn't be found)

Dr. F.

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 07:49:45 PM »
Sign-up sheets are your friends.

Do I recall correctly that you have a lab manager and a PI who is seldom around? (I'm not sure if I'm mixing you up with someone else."

I managed a fairly large lab for a number of years. I had one student who sounds very like your annoying co-worker, who was the impetus for many, if not most, of the rules I ended up making over the years. At one point, I passed out the sign-up sheet for the week AT LAB MEETING, everyone was allowed 3 daytime slots at that point. If a slot was not claimed within 24 hours of when it was, you could sign up for another. If someone had not shown up for their slot and started prepping within 1 hour of the slot start time, it could be claimed. You want to do more than 3 in one week? Midnight and 4 AM slots were available. Etc. At one point it got to be me ruling on what radio stations could be listened to, at what volume, and the maximum number of times one could play a given song in a row. All generated by this one student.

The lab manager needs to know what's going on and deal with the situation in such a way that maximizes productivity for all users. If they haven't had someone pushing the boundaries before, some of these rules may not be already in place, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be developed and enforced.

For enforcement, we had "food punishments." Break a rule and someone complains? You bring in cookies/brownies/cake/whatever for the whole lab.

It was rough-and-ready, but it worked.

TootsNYC

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 07:50:31 PM »

I was really mad so I told her that it's about time she realized that there were other people in our group, whose work is no less important than hers.
To which she replied "Why don't we ask everyone else in the group what they think about you!"


And you spoke to her like she was a first grader--people don't generally react well to that sort of comment. Not your best choice of wording.

I would simply try not to worry about her. And yes, it might be a good idea if you had a sign-up sheet for the apparati. But you'll need something that keeps people from signing up and then showing up late, thereby hogging the machines. (of course, someone who wants to start later ought to be able to reserve a machine nonetheless instead of finding themselves without a machine at all.)

Shopaholic

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 01:53:30 AM »

And you spoke to her like she was a first grader--people don't generally react well to that sort of comment. Not your best choice of wording.


I agree. I'm first to admit that I sank to her level. She frequently talks to me disparagingly, as if I work for her.
But her actions preceeded my words. And her second comment was completely uncalled for.
Our lab environment is usually very friendly. I'm the only one who gets the brunt of her self-involvement.

My PI is usally around, but not when there's drama, apparently. Lab manager is actually on good terms with Coworker, but sees her as misorganized and somewhat lazy.
However, I feel that whenever it's me against Coworker I am the "big bad witch" and she's a sweet, innocent thing.

MyFamily

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 10:26:46 AM »
Shopaholic, your situation reminds me of my own.  I posted a few weeks ago about yelling at a coworker and having to apologize.  My coworker reminds me of your coworker (even though we are in totally different fields). 

I really wish I had some advice for you, but the only advice I can give is to take a lot of deep breathes, and sips of your beverage of choice (that is appropriate for work).  That is what I've started doing - I keep a bottle of water on my desk and when she starts up, I take a few sips (like the coke rule here).  It helps me to focus and respond appropriately.  Unfortunately, there probably is nothing you can do since your lab manager refuses to see the problems. 

You didn't ask for them, but here are some hugs.
(((hugs)))


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

DollyPond

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 11:12:20 AM »
Quote
At one point it got to be me ruling on what radio stations could be listened to, at what volume, and the maximum number of times one could play a given song in a row. All generated by this one student.


OK, this is something that really annoys me (and many others in my lab).  Why does management (in general , not you in particular) think that enforcing blanket rules are the solution when it is one person causing the problems?  Why can they not deal with the individual in person rather than spreading out the consequences to everybody?

Dr. F.

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 11:33:23 AM »
Quote
At one point it got to be me ruling on what radio stations could be listened to, at what volume, and the maximum number of times one could play a given song in a row. All generated by this one student.


OK, this is something that really annoys me (and many others in my lab).  Why does management (in general , not you in particular) think that enforcing blanket rules are the solution when it is one person causing the problems?  Why can they not deal with the individual in person rather than spreading out the consequences to everybody?

In my case, it was because the student would go whining to my chair (or provost, and on one memorable occasion, the president of the university!) and carry-on that I was picking on him and making up rules that only applied to him, etc. etc. And I'd get told off and told I had to treat everyone equitably. (The one about the maximum # of times in a row for a given song was because this guy would put "Love Stinks" on repeat at high volume and then leave the lab. People would stop it and change to the radio. He'd come back in and restart "Love Stinks." Repeat ad nauseum. I got to deal with it as the students were afraid of him.)

Shopaholic

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2012, 06:00:15 AM »
Thanks, MyFamily. I remember your post.

Things have kinda-sorta calmed down a bit. I did have a talk with Steve, who is Coworker's friend and "closest ally". He says that the tension can be felt, but that he has been advising Coworker to calm down.
From what I understood from him (he doesn't speak directly) she was under a lot of pressure and wasn't thinking, she took the apparatus by mistake...

Dr. F - that student sounds like a wonderful guy. Makes my Coworker seem a little bit better. :)

kittytongue

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2012, 04:07:33 AM »
These sorts of 'petty things' are exactly what your supervisor is there to handle. Sounds like coworker doesn't respect you and has no problem displaying that. Time for a sit down with your supervisor there to mediate.

TootsNYC

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Re: Annoying CoWorker does it again
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2012, 02:31:07 PM »

And you spoke to her like she was a first grader--people don't generally react well to that sort of comment. Not your best choice of wording.


I agree. I'm first to admit that I sank to her level. She frequently talks to me disparagingly, as if I work for her.
But her actions preceeded my words. And her second comment was completely uncalled for.
Our lab environment is usually very friendly. I'm the only one who gets the brunt of her self-involvement.

My PI is usally around, but not when there's drama, apparently. Lab manager is actually on good terms with Coworker, but sees her as misorganized and somewhat lazy.
However, I feel that whenever it's me against Coworker I am the "big bad witch" and she's a sweet, innocent thing.

It sounds like the two of you are in a bad loop. You rub each other the wrong way, and any of the patience that you might summon up for other people, you just can't find for one another.

Maybe there's a way to break that loop--somtimes the unexpected can do it. But you would have to be willing to make a major mental shift. Not that easy, especially in the face of hostility, and when you feel you're sort of justified. Also not easy when you really don't have any long-term stake in getting on better footing (as you might w/ a sibling or roommate).

But you also might e able to slow down or STOP the loop, even if you aren't interested in reversing it. I like the "take a sip of water" idea.